London, 11-15 November 2019
On 11-15 November, the IMO Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships met at the IMO Headquarters in London. The working group agreed on the draft text of a resolution to be put forward to the next Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for adoption at its 75th session on 30 March-3 April 2020.
The text urges the Member States to develop and update their voluntary National Action Plans (NAP) with a view to contributing to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping. According to the agreed text, the NAPs could include but are not limited to:
(a) improving domestic institutional and legislative arrangements for the effective implementation of existing IMO instruments, (b) developing activities to further enhance the energy efficiency of ships, (c) initiating research and advancing the uptake of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, (d) accelerating port emission reduction activities, consistent with resolution MEPC.323(74), (e) fostering capacity building, awareness-raising and regional cooperation and (f) facilitating the development of infrastructure for green shipping.
During the Working Group session, a number of proposals were discussed with regards to the short-term decarbonisation measures, including an Energy Efficiency Ship Index (EEXI), mandatory power limitation on ships, measures to optimise speed on a voyage and slow steaming. It was agreed that further discussions would be needed on both technical and operational measures at the next working group meeting on 23-27 March 2020 to further develop such proposals, although it was clear that there was no appetite for prescriptive speed reduction regulation.
With a longer-term perspective, and in order to encourage the uptake of alternative low- and zero carbon fuels in the shipping sector, the Working Group also agreed on the establishment of a dedicated workstream for the development of lifecycle GHG/carbon intensity guidelines for all relevant types of fuels. This could include, for example, biofuels, electro-/synthetic fuels such as hydrogen or ammonia, etc. Many participants to the meeting highlighted the importance of undertaking this work as soon as possible, in order to pave the way for the decarbonisation of the shipping industry.